Archive for April, 2011

Tuli Tiger Resort in Kanha

Saturday, April 23rd, 2011

Tuli Tiger Resort - pool and main lodge

The Tuli Tiger Resort was much different than the Tiger Trails Resort we stayed at in Bandhavgarh.  It’s part of a larger chain of hotels which makes it much more commercial.  Not necessarily a bad thing if that is what you are looking for.  The resort is laid out around a small pond and all the paths and gardens are landscaped well.

Tuli Tiger Resort Landscape

The service was good and professional here but it wasn’t as personal as the Tiger Trails Resort.  The rooms were big, bright and spacious.  The outside temperature would fluctuate wildly from being near freezing in the morning to 35+ in the afternoon but somehow the design/build of the rooms kept it comfortable all day long.  We didn’t use the fan or air conditioning even once.  Not sure how they did it but it was a nice plus.

The resort has another resort thats actually within the resort.  It was confusing at first because I thought we were booked at the Tuli Corrider resort which is a luxury tented resort that just opened.  Turns out we were booked at the main resort and not the resort within the resort.  In order to get to the Tuli Corrider resort you have to walk through the Tuli Tiger Resort property.  Kinda a bad design if you ask me especially after I found out what the charge per night for the luxury tented camps.

Tuli Corridor Resort (inside the Tuli Tiger Resort)

However, once you get inside the Corridor resort it’s pretty nice.  I wasn’t able to get inside one of the tented camps but they looked spacious from the outside.  If you stay here you also get your own private pool in addition to the pool thats available to the other guests at the Tuli Tiger Resort.

Tuli Corridor Resort Swimming Pool

The Tuli Corridor Resort is very nice but I don’t think it’s worth it since the cost of one of these rooms is several times more than the standard room we stayed in.  You just spend too much time in the park on game drives to enjoy any of the amenities you pay for.  Even if you do have some down time all you really want to do is catch up on sleep.

All in all, I liked the resort but I liked the more personal feel of the Tiger Trails Resort we stayed at in Bandhavgarh better.  Luckily, they have a sister resort in Kanha.  The Wild Chalet Resort.  If I go back to Kanha I’ll try that resort instead.

Tiger Trails Resort in Bandhavgarh

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

Tiger Trails Resort - Main lodge

The Tiger Trails Resort in Bandhavgarh is a simple yet very nice resort.  The loding is very basic (a huge contrast to the Oberoi we stayed at in Agra) but was still comfortable.  Since you spend the vast majority of your time in the park it really doesn’t matter what type of lodging you stay at.  Those that stay at places like the new Taj resort in Bandhavgarh are really just wasting their money.

We also had a nice little visitor that kept appearing in our bathroom.  One day after a long and dusty game drive, I turned on the facuet in the bathroom sink, cupped my hands under the facuet gather water to wash my face, and as I started to lean down to splash my face I literly came face-to-face with this little guy.

froggy visitor chill'n on the faucet

After taking a jump back, splashing water all over myself and letting out a very girly scream, I realized it was just a harmless little frog.

Miki's new froggy friend

He also made an appearance one morning on what would appear, from a froggy point of view, to be the softest bed in the bathroom.  Problem was I had some business to take care so had to relocate him back to the sink.

froggy bed

Since there weren’t many guests when we stayed there all the food was served at the table rather than buffet style.  The food was all local and was delicious.  Miki even got to spend some time with the cooks so they could teach her some of the recipes.  The service was very personal.  Something that you definitely don’t get at the larger, more commercial resorts.

They also got some locals to put on a show for us one night which, as always, Miki participated in.

Local Dance Performance at Tiger Trails Resort in Bandhavgarh

We usually stay in more upmarket lodging but when I go back to Bandhavgarh I will return here without hesitation.  I’m sure it will also serve you nicely as a comfortable base for your tiger safari if you ever chose to travel here.

 

Tigers of India – Photos and Action Packed Tiger Encounters

Saturday, April 16th, 2011

Tiger crossing road in Bandhavgarh

The main reason for our trip to India was to see the royal bengal tiger. These are the biggest of the big cats. The national parks in India have a lot of other wildlife as you saw from my previous posts but the main attraction are the tigers.  I didn’t have high expectation to get a lot of great photos of tigers but with a little bit of luck, a bit of skill, the right equipment, a little patience, a good guide, and some crazy drivers we were able to get some of my best wildlife photos to date. Professional wildlife photographer Talat Khalid of Wild Life Photo Tours arranged this trip for us to visit his two favorite spots for tiger photography.  Bandhavhargh and Kanha tiger reservers.  As you can see below, there is a good reason these are his favorite parks.

Tigress - Aama nalah (our first tiger sighting)

We saw a total of 13 different tigers over our 10 days in the parks.  Some we saw on multiple occasions and every one of the sightings was an amazing experience.  The tigress pictured above is named Aama nalah for the area of Bandhavgarh that she claims as her territory.  She was the first of our 13 tiger sightings and it was amazing.  She was huge!!!  (most girls probably wouldn’t want you to say to them that but I think its ok in the tiger world).  She came so close to our vehicle and eventually walked right in front of us.  If the trip would have ended with just this one tiger sighting it would have been worth it.  They are truly magnificent animals.  It didn’t stop there though… it only got better…

Tiger - "New Male"

Tiger - New Male profile

“New Male” pictured above, is the son of “B2″ who is the son of “Charger” who is arguably the most famous tiger in India given his many appearances on national geographic, BBC, etc.  Charger passed away several years ago after his son, B2, killed him.  B2 is 17 years old now, the same age as his father when he killed him.  Sadly, history is about to repeat itself.  New Male is expanding his territory and needs to kill his father (B2) in order to get the mating rights to all the females in the territory.  We witnessed one such encounter.

All of the sudden we saw B2 run out of the woods and our guide knew that New Male must be chasing him.  A fight was almost sure to happen, he said.

Tiger B2 running from New Male

B2 ran across the road dangerously close to a vehicle.  A few years ago one tourist got mauled when a tiger jumped into the vehicle when being chased.  A very simliar situation to today.

Tiger B2 running close to vehicle

Then out of the corner of my left eye I spotted another tiger.  It was New Male.  My camera was still focused on where B2 ran across the road so I just kept the shutter pressed and captured the action at my cameras maximum 9 frames per second as he disappeared into the trees after B2.

Tiger New Male chasing B2

We feared the worst.  We thought it was over for B2.  New Male was sure to catch him.  He was only 50 meters behind and catching up.  We quickly moved our vehicle to where the guide thought they might come out of the woods… if B2 would even make it out.  About 10 minutes later we found B2 walking along the road.  Looking back to see if he son was still close behind.

Tiger B2 looking for his son

You could see the fear in his eyes.  He was worried.  He knew what was about to happen.  However, what happened next surprised us all.

Tiger New male got lost?

New Male came out of the woods but he seemed to be confused.  He was walking in the wrong direction.  He was still very close to his father but he seemed to have lost his scent.  He walked up and down the road around our vehicle but then eventually found a nice spot in the shade to lay down.

Tiger - New Male laying in the shade

B2 was safe… at least for today.

Tiger - New Male

While we were all sympathetic for B2, there was no denying that New Male is a magnificent tiger.  He was much bigger than he father, younger, and more muscular.  Just look at those canines.  Every part of this tiger was massive.  Even though they are pure breed killing machines they have a lot in common with tame house cats if you watch them long enough.

Tiger - New Male winking

Tiger - New Male (thats a lot of tiger drool)

He had a lot of foam-ish looking saliva hanging on his mouth and just like a ordinary house got he got rid of it with a couple little head flicks.

More tiger pictures after the break…

(more…)

Kingfisher Fishing in Kanha National Park and other birds of India

Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

Common Kingfisher ready for take off

My favorite birds to watch during the safari were the kingfishers.  They have beautiful colors and watching them fish was amazing.  It required a lot of patience to get these photographs because they are very quick and pretty small targets to shoot.  However, after studying their behavior for a while you could sense when they were about to fly off to attack their prey.  They also had a tendency to return to them same perch to start a new attack run if the previous one wasn’t successful.  With a lot of patience, a little bit of skill and a lot of luck I got one of my favorite shots of the trip (above).  I was also able to get this amazing sequence of a common kingfisher catching a little fish.

He missed that time around but he kept on hunting and eventually got the little fish.  He didn’t share it with his mate hanging out next to him though.  Selfish bird :(

Common Kingfisher caught a fish (but didn't share it with his mate)

I also got a very sharp shot of a white breasted kingfisher with its third eyelid (nictitating membrane) closed.  Obviously is was pure luck I got this shot because there is no way you can time the shutter with a blink.  I looked online and I haven’t been able to find another picture of this bird with its third eyelid closed.  I’m sure I’m not the first to capture this photo but I can pretend until someone shows me another pic :)

white breasted kingfisher with 3rd eyelid closed

Another cool trick in the bird world comes from the owl.  Wouldn’t it be cool if we could do this?

Owl Head | No Owl Head

A trip to India wouldn’t be complete without a picture of a peacock.  These things were everywhere and they are very, very noisy.  This was mating season so we saw a lot of displays like this.  Males in the peacock world sure do go through a lot of trouble to attract a mate.

Peacock

Some more favorite bird pics from our trip to India.

stay tuned because I’m almost finished processing the tiger pictures.  They will be posted shortly.